ABET stands for the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. ABET accredits post-secondary degree-granting programs offered by institutions that are regionally accredited in the U.S. and nationally accredited outside of the U.S. Certification, traing, or doctoral programs are not accredited.
ABET accreditation is voluntary; the request for accreditation is initiated by the institution seeking accreditation. Accreditation is given to individual programs within an institution rather than to the institution as a whole. Accredited programs must request re-evaluation every six years to retain accreditation; if the accreditation criteria are not satisfied, additional evaluation may be required within the six year interval.
There are four commissions within ABET:
- Applied Science Accreditation Commission (ASAC)
- Computing Accreditation Commission (CAC)
- Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC)
- Technology Accreditation Commission (TAC)
The program is assigned to a commission based on its title (the program name shown on the transcript). Each commission has different accreditation criteria.
The program requesting accreditation must conduct a comprehensive self-study and submit the self-study to the ABET evaluation team. The evaluation team (team chair and program evaluators) will normally arrive on campus on a Saturday or Sunday. During the on-campus visit, the evaluation team will review course materials from each program, as well as student projects and sample assignments. Evaluators will also interview students, faculty, and administrators, and tour the facilities to investigate any questions raised by the self-study. The visit will normally conclude the following Tuesday with an exit interview with the institution’s chief executive officer, dean, and other appropriate institution personnel as appropriate. This interview is intended to summarize the results of the evaluation for each program.
Following the campus visit, the institution has 7 days in which to correct perceived errors of fact communicated during the exit interview. Following this period, the team chair will begin preparation of a draft statement to the institution; this statement undergoes extensive editing and will typically be provided to the institution several months after the visit. On receipt of the draft statement, the institution has 30 days to respond to issues identified in the evaluation. After this response, the team chair prepares a final statement to the institution.
The final statement and recommended accreditation action is reviewed by the large annual meeting of all ABET commission members in July after the campus visit. Based on the findings, the commission members vote on the final accreditation action, and the school is notified of the decision in August.
The information the school receives identifies strengths, concerns, weaknesses, and deficiencies of the program, as well as recommendations for compliance with ABET criteria. Accreditation is granted for a maximum of six years, after which the institution must request another evaluation.